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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 05-21-2004, 09:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Here is the story:
Today I decided to drive over to driving range (golf) to spend some time with my brother. Sure enough it was "under renovation." My problem started on the way home. Just as I made a left hand turn at a stoplight all hell broke loose up front as the car filled with the smell of coolant and smoke erupted from my hood. I pulled into the nearest driveway (McDonalds) and popped the hood. Surprisingly I found my upper radiator hose completely detatched from the radiator and coolant was everywhere. This was an easy fix, I pupped the hose back in place (and tightened the clamp :P) and went to a gas station to buy some antifreeze. My real problem started following this when I was feeling very happy with my mechanical skill :P. As I kept driving the stock temp guage went all the way over to the red. I stopped the car and popped the hood, but nothing seemed wrong! Anyway, I ended up limping the car home stopping every 2 mins to let it cool.
The story gets more interesting, however, because at a certain point the coolant system seemed to kick in again and the guage read normal. However, just as I pulled into my driveway I started to shoot up high again. I really have no idea what is wrong. Any help is extremely appreciated.

Dave

P.S. Whenever I pulled over I checked the back of the car for more leaking. There was hardly any, to the extent to which I would almost attribute it to the massive leak before.
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Possibly a stuck thermostat. That has happened to a car i had a while back. Just an idea.
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Old 05-21-2004, 11:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmm.... maybe.
I was just at Canadian Tire getting some more coolant when the guy at the desk said that usually when an upper rad pipe goes the system gets depressurized and the radiator cap can break. I did notice coolant around the cap after it was tightly closed, but I assumed it was from before when the pipe blew off. Is this guy's idea feasible?
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Old 05-21-2004, 02:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd strongly recommend you replace all the fluid and the thermostat, or thermostat & housing if you have a 1.9 litre engine.
I would also stay away from all other anti-freeze products and only use BMW fluid as it has been specially formulated to run in BMW engines. It's only $20 at the dealer.
The upper hose may have initially come off under pressure from a malfunctioning thermostat.

Good luck.
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hm, thanks for the advice. Unfortuneately I noticed one more thing later on tonight, which has really just destroyed my spirits. I was just about to wash the car after having finished working on it (no longer overheated) and I notice white smoke coming out from the exhaust. My dad got in the car and revved the engine... Liquid shot out the tailpipe along with a big cloud of white smoke. I figure it was a gasket of somesorts that had blown in the engine? At any rate, I donno if I have the money to fix this problem, especially after my brakes and suspension have needed replacing recently!
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Old 05-21-2004, 11:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yep. Sorry.
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Old 05-22-2004, 07:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey,

EXACTLY the same thing happened to my 325 last week, didn't explode though. The temperature went up, i stopped, and there was coolant all over the place (presumable because it got too hot and the cap let the pressure go), anyway, i replaced the missing coolant, and it made shit all difference, temp kept rising all the way to the red after 30seconds driving.

After checking the thermostat, I checked the water pump. What had happened was the water pump DESTROYED itself. The water pump plastic impeller was sitting in 1000000 pieces in the housing...so no moving water at all, the tell tell sign of this was the lower radiator hose, no matter how hot the engine was, the hose remained cold. Either it was the thermostat (checked and fine) or the pump... changed the pump and now sweet as a nut

Hope this helps.

Rich.

PS. You said you limped the car home, stopping every 2 mins. LUCKILY i didn't do that... i stopped and got towed home. With the liquid out of the exhaust is big trouble, you've almost definately blown the head gasket, and if you are even slightly unlucky, warped the head as well. And machining and skimming of the head, not to mention the complete rebuild of the top end is not even remotely cheap. Good luck with fixing it!
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Old 05-22-2004, 09:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You and Tornado have learned the hard way. The e36 cars are great but a sore spot is their cooling system. Do a search on this site for "water pump" or "metal impeller" and you will find more info than you need.

The water pump is notorious for early failure, and if not upgraded it can fail and take your engine with it. Do the search (gather more info posted by myself and others), take your car to a tech, and see if a water pump will do it, or if there are more serious matters at hand..
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Old 05-22-2004, 11:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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my car was overheating... similar to this... it was a cracked coolant hose
my dad cut off the hose that was cracked put a drill bit in there (wtf?) and filled the coolant tank with water/coolant...
drove fine to the mechanic... no overheating
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Old 05-22-2004, 10:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Man, I'm worried about the water pump on my car. It just had a new raditor replaced right before I got it, and the people told me they were "pretty sure" the pump was replaced. Anyway I can check this tomorrow fairly easily? I assumed it was a pretty standard thing to have a new water pump with a new radiator and hoses etc.

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Old 05-23-2004, 03:00 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I had that same problem on my 89' 325i and it was just a stuck thermostat.
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